Interview: Scott Rose on The Bowery Awards

This year New York Festivals are running a new competition, The Bowery Awards.  This is a new competition that will highlight independent designers and creatives working in design, audio and film.

The competition opened on Monday, July 13th, and proceeds from this competition will be donated to Feed the Frontline.

Here we're talking to Scott Rose; Director of the Advertising Awards, and asking him a little more about the award process, along with any tips he can share specifically re: how to decide which artwork to enter!

They have a supreme line up of jurers including the likes of David Sable > Former Global CEO of Y&R, Duncan Bird > VP Brand Marketing & Digital
Fiverr, Carol H. Williams > Owner, President, CEO & Chief Creative Officer,  to name a's the full list - jury

Who can enter? .... Any creative who has done work independently to promote a company, product, project, event or service. If you work in the agency world, that is acceptable, but the work entered into The Bowery Awards must have been for a client that is yours and yours alone. There a small entry fee and entries first appearing in public between January 1, 2019 - August 31, 2020 are eligible, more details here.  It's also not to late to enter! keep reading for more info!

What's the best advice you've ever received?

“You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.”  I don’t remember where I read it many, many years ago, but it’s something I think about often.
When you’re trying to start a new project or go into a situation where you feel potentially out gunned and unsure, there’s always this weird little chasm between where you are and what you’re going into that makes it scary to take that step across the threshold.  It’s an area full of fear that distorts what’s ahead like heat waves off desert pavement. If you can be comfortable pushing through that distorted space, you can accomplish a lot.
Can we find out more re: the judging process for the awards, how the pieces are marked / originally presented?

The great thing about NYF competitions is that the work is only in competition with itself. It’s a points based judging system in which the judges score the work against the criteria of the category. This creates scoring ranges for each award level. So there can be multiple golds, as an example, in one category or no golds in that category. This means no work is “knocking out” any other work. If the work achieves the necessary points to reach an award level, it earns that award level.
We feel this makes for the best scoring and awarding system for a creative competition. It’s then truly about the work and without any inherent bias.
Can you tell us a little more about Feed The Frontlines and why you selected this as your charity?
Besides wanting to help freelancers, we wanted to honor and give back to our home. Feed The Front Lines NYC is all about making sure that our neighbors who put their lives on the line are taken care of. What we’re doing pales in comparison to their initiative and we’re honored to contribute to their mission, cause and efforts.
What top tips you’d share with regards to an artist selecting a suitable design for the competition?
At a major company, there are metrics, analytics and market data to adhere to. There are layers and layers of “decision makers” who need to sign off before a piece of work goes from the creator’s initial execution to what we see on the market.
In the spirit of the Bowery and its somewhat feral artistic history, the Bowery Awards is for that work where the client is as fearless as the creative they hired. The work is authentic and you can feel the humanity in the art and it hasn’t been market tested and board room picked over until it has been completely neutered and is just another thing we scroll by.
With that in mind, enter the work you’re incredibly proud of. That’s what these stellar judges will respond to.
What happens if you’ve won?

Each Winner receives an engraved trophy for The Bowery Awards, shipping and expenses covered by NYF.  They’re also showcased in a Winners Gallery with the other winning work. This gallery will be promoted to all of the top companies and entrants who enter our Advertising, TV and FILM and Radio competitions.
We’ve also given each entrant the option of having their contact info displayed in the gallery, with the hopes that a top Executive Creative Director, pursuing the gallery can reach right out to a creative whose work inspires them.
With the addition of our great collaborator Fiverr, and sponsor Adventure Media, we have some wonderful prizes for the Grand Winners which you can learn more about HERE.
It has been the greatest honor to have Advertising Hall of Famer Carol H. Williams join our Executive Jury and put her name on the ‘Together For Better” category. This is a category which is for work that promotes unity and diversity and is present in the five category groups.
Mrs. Williams will be reviewing the work in those categories and bestowing the Carol H. Williams ‘Together For Better” Award upon the entrant.
Can we ask you what the weirdest thing you've ever taken inspiration from?

If you asked my wife, everything I take inspiration from is weird. I’m a huge fan of counter-culture and psychedelic art, music and film. I’ll drop a few names, some well-known, some that are somewhat off the beaten path, whose work continues to inspire me. Maybe they can be trail-heads to inspiration for some great future Bowery Awards entries...
Guy Peellaert
Mati Klerwein
Patti Smith
Robert Williams
R. Crumb
Neal Casal
Judee Sill
Erik Davis
Robert Anton Wilson
Sandy Denny
Al Kooper
Ralph Bakshi
Wilfried Satty
Wallace Berman
Gene Clark
Philip K. Dick
Hubert Sumlin
Rick Griffin
Alan Forbes
Richard Brautigan
“The Big Five” poster artists from the Filmore West
Jeff Conklin’s “Avant Ghetto” radio show on WFMU online every Sunday night
And finally, when does the planning for The Bowery Awards 2021 begin?!
Let’s get through 2020 safely first! A little inside info, tho, due to the great response and some requests, we’ll be extending the 2020 competition past the posted 8/31 deadline to 10/2.

at illo agency we pride ourselves in representing a collation of global illustrators, distinctly diverse in creativity and uniquely celebrated by like-minded clients across a range of commercial markets.